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The Effects of Energy Costs On U.S. Adults

Rising energy costs are affecting Americans' daily lives. In a recent AARP poll of U.S. residents age 18 and older almost two-thirds (63%) of respondents say that they have limited their home energy use as a result of higher energy costs, primarily by raising or lowering their thermostats to save money.

Other reported cost cutting measures include—

  • limiting driving or travel (58%)
  • delaying payment of bills—with significantly more adults 18-49 delaying payments (21%) than adults 50+ (9%)
  • limiting or doing without telecommunications (15%), food (15%), medical services (11%), or prescription drugs (11%)

Given a list of nine entities and asked if each was “greatly, somewhat or not at all” to blame for higher energy costs, respondents felt that oil companies as a group were most responsible (89%), followed by oil exporting countries (81%) and growing international demand (81%). Americans also attributed blame to Congress (79%), the Administration (78%) and Katrina and other hurricanes (78%).

Survey results are highlighted in the December issue of the AARP Bulletin.

International Communications Research conducted this national telephone survey for AARP October 26-31, 2005—with 1,000 respondents age 18 and older (500 ages 18-49 and 500 ages 50+). All responses were subsequently weighted to be nationally representative of the U.S. population 18+, balanced by key demographics. The report was written by Jean Koppen, AARP Knowledge Management, who may be contacted for more information at 202-434-6311. (6 pages)